Friday, December 16, 2011


I'm going to go out on a limb and say that these rankings aren't definitive, but they'll try to paint an image of how I see and foresee the league's teams performing long-term.

The Teams

1. Dallas Mavericks - The reigning champions, even though they lost Tyson Chandler and JJ Barea, will be tough to beat with the additions of Vince Carter and Lamar Odom. Lamar Odom IS REALLY GOOD.

2. Miami Heat - This team is an enigma -- talent-wise, they should be the best, but I'm not convinced guys like LeBron are mentally tough enough to win consistently against a team like Dallas. LeBron's playoff performance last year against the Mavs was almost suspiciously bad (for him; he's still better than almost everyone when he plays like crap). Add Shane Battier and this team gives LeBron some help on wing defense that should push them back into the finals.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder - Maybe THE most talented team in the league. And they're put together very well, to boot -- they have offense all over (Durant, Westbrook and Harden) and a very strong defensive core (Collison, Ibaka, Perkins and Sefolosha). What makes them weaker than Dallas and Miami is that their elite players are far less battle ready than the likes of Dirk, Jason Kidd, Dwyane Wade and LeBron. Who on the Thunder has even been to the finals? Perkins and Mohammed? Not quite ready yet.

4. Chicago Bulls - They'll never go anywhere when they're relying on Derrick Rose to create 99 percent of their offense. Luol Deng is a great spot up shooter and a scorer off screens. Boozer is great as a roll man or a pick-and-pop shooter. Rip is similar to Deng. But when the shotclock is winding down, who can create a decent shot attempt? Rose. So they stack on him. They need to find a low-post threat ASAP.

5. Boston Celtics - People are starting to sleep on these guys like they have been with the Spurs -- they're still good y'all. Maybe in a shortened season, they get their asses winded and stuff, but I really see this team as, at worst, staying the same (Bass replaces Davis, Green replaces their terrible bench, Wilcox == Jermaine O'Neal). And that team is a really god damn good team.

6. Memphis Grizzlies - These guys are good. Just see last year's playoffs and how far they pushed the Thunder. Getting Gay back is great, but losing Battier is going to hurt.

7. LA Clippers
8. Denver Nuggets
9. San Antonio Spurs
10. LA Lakers
11. Portland Trailblazers
12. Orlando Magic
13. Philadelphia 76ers
14. Atlanta Hawks
15. New York Knicks
16. Indiana Pacers
17. Brooklyn Nets
18. Milwaukee Bucks
19. Houston Rockets
20. Utah Jazz
21. Minnesota Timberwolves
22. Golden State Warriors
23. Phoenix Suns
24. Washington Wizards
25. Sacramento Kings
26. New Orleans Hornets
27. Detroit Pistons
28. Toronto Raptors
29. Charlotte Bobcats
30. Cleveland Cavaliers

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